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Williams Optimization Results with Photos


Introduction


Back in January, @lancre donated a puck of Williams with this recommendation:

"As for deviating from your method, all I'm suggesting is a long soak, heavy load, and don't rush it."

Tom's advice was offered at a time when I didn't try soaking soap during optimization trials. Shortly thereafter, I began adding soaking as another variable. It has been a valuable addition. For harder soaps in particular, soaking allows for less lather-building time, denser lather, and more slickness. Months have passed since Tom donated the soap and made his suggestion, but I finally got around to evaluating Williams. Tom was right. A long soak and a heavy load worked really well!

My optimization results with Williams are published below, along with an updated optimum lather performance table. Results are also published in my lather optimization guide in the ShaveWiki.

Overall, Williams is pretty good, maybe even good. Slickness is its best attribute, but I also appreciate how it doesn't "blow up" with bubbles, allowing for more density and control over aeration. Williams isn't the best soap out there, but it is a good value. Thanks, Tom, for the soap and solid advice! :thumbup:

Thanks for reading! Feedback is welcome! :001_smile

P.S. Hey, @naughtilus, how do you like the photos? I remembered what you wrote last time. :001_smile


Williams Mug Shaving Soap


full
Box, puck, and ingredient list​

Purchase Date: January 9, 2019. The new box of Williams was generously donated by @lancre and received on January 12, 2019.

Review Period: May 28 to June 21, 2019. 17 optimization shaves and 3 ranking tests.

Manufacturing Location: USA

Ingredients: Potassium stearate, sodium tallowate, sodium cocoate, water, glycerin, fragrance, sodium chloride, titanium dioxide, stearic acid, pentasodium pentetate, tetrasodium etidronate. May also contain sodium palm kernelate.

Appearance: Off-white or yellowish

Scent: The soap smells like soap. That's the best that I can describe it.

Hardness: Hard

Optimum Lather Overview: Soaking or dissolving of soap in water produces the best lather for this hard soap. Its optimum lather has a water-to-soap ratio of 14, a total mass of 13.50 g for three passes, and a total bowl lathering time of 90 seconds. Sheen is good to very good. Lather has little structure, very weak peaks, and some yogurt-like behavior of stringiness. Adhesion and application are okay. The scent is not really noticed. Slickness is good to very good. Cushion/protection is okay with little cushion, but okay protection. Post-shave is good or very good with respect to moisture and okay or pretty good with respect to comfort because of some irritation that grows in time after the shave.

Optimization Details: The bowl lathering process used when optimizing Williams is pictured below. The soap mass was measured and, for hard soaps like Williams, pushed into the edge of the lathering bowl. It was discovered that adding a drop or two of water allowed the soap to be pushed together and reformed into a solid mass before adding the rest of the water. The rest of the water, plus extra if preparing the night before, was then added. A finger was then used to rub back and forth against the soap and neatly dissolve it in the water. Right before the shave, more water was added to hit the desired amount, if necessary because of evaporation. Lather building then began with a dry synthetic-hair brush and continued for the optimum amount of time at my agitation rate. The bottom three subpictures show the optimum lather with its weak peaks and good sheen.

full
Bowl lathering process used for optimization​

While experimenting with Williams, the water-to-soap ratio was nonsequentially varied from 8 to 22, total mass varied from 8.80 g to 16.8 g, and lather-building time ranged from 60 seconds to 120 seconds. Slickness generally decreased with increasing hydration, while post-shave quality generally increased with more hydration, at least over the optimization domain. Some time/agitation was necessary to form a stable lather, but too much agitation just increased the lather's aeration. It was appreciated that the lather did not "blow up" upon agitation, that Williams allowed for a more concentrated lather as long as the lather-building time was low enough. By the end of the optimization process, lather built over 90 seconds with a water-to-soap ratio of 14 and a total mass of 13.50 g was determined to produce the approximate optimum lather.

Ranking Details: Three ranking tests were performed by comparing Williams's optimum lather against other optimum lathers in sequential pairs of shaves. The first ranking test was against Stirling. Stirling's optimum lather produced slickness that was not as good, but still good, cushion that was worse, more protection, better post-shave moisture, and similar, but probably better, post-shave comfort. Overall, Stirling was better. The second ranking test was against Saponificio Varesino. SV lather seemed much richer. Slickness from SV was not as good, but it was generally pretty good to good. Cushion/protection, however, was definitely better with SV. Also, post-shave moisture was somewhat better and post-shave comfort was definitely better with SV. Overall, SV was better, more balanced. The third ranking test was against Haslinger. Slickness with Haslinger was definitely not as good as with Williams. Cushion/protection was definitely better with Haslinger, though. Post-shave moisture was not as good with Haslinger, but post-shave comfort was similar, probably a little better with Haslinger. Overall, I liked Williams better, which resulted in Williams being ranked above Haslinger and below SV.


Optimum Lather Performance Table


full
 
How do you get no cushion/protection with Stirling soap? It makes into a giant voluptuous lather when you load it well. Also, it's hard to believe that Stirling soap dries out the skin. It has lanolin, tallow, and shea butter, coconut milk, which is pretty fatty and moisturizing for the skin.
 

Toothpick

Needs milk and a bidet!
It’s very evident they take a lot of time. No doubt there are many folks here who appreciate your diligence with these reviews.
 
How do you get no cushion/protection with Stirling soap? It makes into a giant voluptuous lather when you load it well. Also, it's hard to believe that Stirling soap dries out the skin. It has lanolin, tallow, and shea butter, coconut milk, which is pretty fatty and moisturizing for the skin.

Stirling is an older review of mine, so the words in the table might not truly reflect what I'd say today, but it still holds up in the ranking table. It is where it is because of ranking tests. The words help me get a good sense of where a new evaluation should go, but I often need ranking tests to truly place a new soap or cream in the right spot. The ranking test of Williams against Stirling reminded me, though, of Stirling having less cushion/protection. I actually noted "more blade feel" for Stirling in my Excel log. If I were to review Stirling again with soaking as an option, Stirling might end up higher in my list.
 
Stirling is an older review of mine, so the words in the table might not truly reflect what I'd say today, but it still holds up in the ranking table. It is where it is because of ranking tests. The words help me get a good sense of where a new evaluation should go, but I often need ranking tests to truly place a new soap or cream in the right spot. The ranking test of Williams against Stirling reminded me, though, of Stirling having less cushion/protection. I actually noted "more blade feel" for Stirling in my Excel log. If I were to review Stirling again with soaking as an option, Stirling might end up higher in my list.
I see. It does seem to take a long time to accurately do each review so that can happen. Stirling is my top soap so I tend to be biased towards it. Williams is nice but it leaves my skin so dry that I tend to stay away from it. Same with Derby and Arko. I definitely need a good artisan balm to combat the dryness.
 
Loving the photos. :thumbup1:

Experience of Williams fans now confirmed. W is the slickness king but not pretty on the eyes and the nose.
 


Introduction


Back in January, @lancre donated a puck of Williams with this recommendation:

"As for deviating from your method, all I'm suggesting is a long soak, heavy load, and don't rush it."

Tom's advice was offered at a time when I didn't try soaking soap during optimization trials. Shortly thereafter, I began adding soaking as another variable. It has been a valuable addition. For harder soaps in particular, soaking allows for less lather-building time, denser lather, and more slickness. Months have passed since Tom donated the soap and made his suggestion, but I finally got around to evaluating Williams. Tom was right. A long soak and a heavy load worked really well!

My optimization results with Williams are published below, along with an updated optimum lather performance table. Results are also published in my lather optimization guide in the ShaveWiki.

Overall, Williams is pretty good, maybe even good. Slickness is its best attribute, but I also appreciate how it doesn't "blow up" with bubbles, allowing for more density and control over aeration. Williams isn't the best soap out there, but it is a good value. Thanks, Tom, for the soap and solid advice! :thumbup:

Thanks for reading! Feedback is welcome! :001_smile

P.S. Hey, @naughtilus, how do you like the photos? I remembered what you wrote last time. :001_smile


Williams Mug Shaving Soap


full
Box, puck, and ingredient list​

Purchase Date: January 9, 2019. The new box of Williams was generously donated by @lancre and received on January 12, 2019.

Review Period: May 28 to June 21, 2019. 17 optimization shaves and 3 ranking tests.

Manufacturing Location: USA

Ingredients: Potassium stearate, sodium tallowate, sodium cocoate, water, glycerin, fragrance, sodium chloride, titanium dioxide, stearic acid, pentasodium pentetate, tetrasodium etidronate. May also contain sodium palm kernelate.

Appearance: Off-white or yellowish

Scent: The soap smells like soap. That's the best that I can describe it.

Hardness: Hard

Optimum Lather Overview: Soaking or dissolving of soap in water produces the best lather for this hard soap. Its optimum lather has a water-to-soap ratio of 14, a total mass of 13.50 g for three passes, and a total bowl lathering time of 90 seconds. Sheen is good to very good. Lather has little structure, very weak peaks, and some yogurt-like behavior of stringiness. Adhesion and application are okay. The scent is not really noticed. Slickness is good to very good. Cushion/protection is okay with little cushion, but okay protection. Post-shave is good or very good with respect to moisture and okay or pretty good with respect to comfort because of some irritation that grows in time after the shave.

Optimization Details: The bowl lathering process used when optimizing Williams is pictured below. The soap mass was measured and, for hard soaps like Williams, pushed into the edge of the lathering bowl. It was discovered that adding a drop or two of water allowed the soap to be pushed together and reformed into a solid mass before adding the rest of the water. The rest of the water, plus extra if preparing the night before, was then added. A finger was then used to rub back and forth against the soap and neatly dissolve it in the water. Right before the shave, more water was added to hit the desired amount, if necessary because of evaporation. Lather building then began with a dry synthetic-hair brush and continued for the optimum amount of time at my agitation rate. The bottom three subpictures show the optimum lather with its weak peaks and good sheen.

full
Bowl lathering process used for optimization​

While experimenting with Williams, the water-to-soap ratio was nonsequentially varied from 8 to 22, total mass varied from 8.80 g to 16.8 g, and lather-building time ranged from 60 seconds to 120 seconds. Slickness generally decreased with increasing hydration, while post-shave quality generally increased with more hydration, at least over the optimization domain. Some time/agitation was necessary to form a stable lather, but too much agitation just increased the lather's aeration. It was appreciated that the lather did not "blow up" upon agitation, that Williams allowed for a more concentrated lather as long as the lather-building time was low enough. By the end of the optimization process, lather built over 90 seconds with a water-to-soap ratio of 14 and a total mass of 13.50 g was determined to produce the approximate optimum lather.

Ranking Details: Three ranking tests were performed by comparing Williams's optimum lather against other optimum lathers in sequential pairs of shaves. The first ranking test was against Stirling. Stirling's optimum lather produced slickness that was not as good, but still good, cushion that was worse, more protection, better post-shave moisture, and similar, but probably better, post-shave comfort. Overall, Stirling was better. The second ranking test was against Saponificio Varesino. SV lather seemed much richer. Slickness from SV was not as good, but it was generally pretty good to good. Cushion/protection, however, was definitely better with SV. Also, post-shave moisture was somewhat better and post-shave comfort was definitely better with SV. Overall, SV was better, more balanced. The third ranking test was against Haslinger. Slickness with Haslinger was definitely not as good as with Williams. Cushion/protection was definitely better with Haslinger, though. Post-shave moisture was not as good with Haslinger, but post-shave comfort was similar, probably a little better with Haslinger. Overall, I liked Williams better, which resulted in Williams being ranked above Haslinger and below SV.


Optimum Lather Performance Table


full

Great evaluation of a classic!! Thanks. :a21:
 

ajkel64

Check Out Chick
Thanks again for taking the time to do these optimisation tables. I like to read your thoughts on the products that you test. I may not agree with you all the time but I admire the time and effort that you put into your reviews and the detail that you go into.
 

FarmerTan

"Self appointed king of Arkoland"
Great evaluation of a classic!! Thanks. :a21:

Thanks again for taking the time to do these optimisation tables. I like to read your thoughts on the products that you test. I may not agree with you all the time but I admire the time and effort that you put into your reviews and the detail that you go into.
Ditto to what these gentlemen said.
Can of worms: did you soak Captain's? Wait, it's soft, isn't it? Never mind. You are doing a great, underappreciated service my friend.
 
I see. It does seem to take a long time to accurately do each review so that can happen. Stirling is my top soap so I tend to be biased towards it. Williams is nice but it leaves my skin so dry that I tend to stay away from it. Same with Derby and Arko. I definitely need a good artisan balm to combat the dryness.

I hear you about moisturization. I use a toner and Nivea's sensitive skin balm after each shave, and I moisturize my hands, too. If I didn't do that, my post-shave evaluations would be different and not really fair because of my skin. All evaluations are relative, anyway.

Great evaluation of a classic!! Thanks. :a21:

Thanks again for taking the time to do these optimisation tables. I like to read your thoughts on the products that you test. I may not agree with you all the time but I admire the time and effort that you put into your reviews and the detail that you go into.

Ditto to what these gentlemen said.
Can of worms: did you soak Captain's? Wait, it's soft, isn't it? Never mind. You are doing a great, underappreciated service my friend.

Thanks, guys. I appreciate your kind words. Last night, I thought more about the time it takes to publish an optimization review and the frustration that sometimes happens when optimizing a soap or cream. Sometimes, this takes the joy away from the hobby. I bought Cremo a week ago and it was sitting unopened because I hadn't finished optimizing Williams and I hadn't taken pictures of it yet. It's ridiculous! I had to break free! So, I decided to try something different. No pictures were taken and Cremo is opened. I'll be optimizing it as far as I want and there might not be any ranking tests, since ranking has been proven good just based on records and memory. In the end, I'll post an updated table or two with some thoughts. I think that will be a good balance.
 
I hear you about moisturization. I use a toner and Nivea's sensitive skin balm after each shave, and I moisturize my hands, too. If I didn't do that, my post-shave evaluations would be different and not really fair because of my skin. All evaluations are relative, anyway.

WH & Nivea are constants in my shaves as well.
 
Williams performs better than Mikes, MdC, and B&M? An interesting opinion.

I just finished up watching the HBO mini-series about Chernobyl. The Russians kept saying over and over that the RBMK graphite and water moderated reactor couldn't possibly explode. I dont want to give away any spoilers to those of you that are maybe too young to be familiar with how that story ends. Lets just say the science proved to be flawed.
 
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